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How did militiamen carry their shooting tools?

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JB67

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I'm looking for period-correct methods of carrying one's shooting tools, namely the vent oick, pan btush, powder measure, and maybe knapping hammer. I see some shooters keep them on a neck chain, but is that correct fot Rev War and/or War of 1812?
 

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Hi JB,

The Pick and Pan Brush or Whisk and Prick or Whisk and Pick were issued to Soldiers throughout the 18th century and into the early 19th century, as long as flintlocks were used by the military. Each part of the Pick and Pan Brush was suspended from a loop by either bar link chains or twisted "S" link chains. Below is a photo of two early 19th century ones that follow 18th century styles along with two hand cramps (as they would say) or hand vices. It is hard to see in the top example, though the bottom one clearly shows the loop in the center that was meant to hang the chains from either a vest button or sewed to the strap of the Cartouche Pouch as they would say or more commonly known as the Cartridge Pouch in the 18th century and as the Cartridge Box in the 19th century.


This link shows the loop more clearly on the left side:

Most Soldiers used paper cartridges with Muskets, so they didn't need powder measures. However, some musket armed Light Infantry Soldiers and Militia who used powder horns and all Riflemen carried a powder measure. That measure might also have been suspended from the shoulder strap of the Cartouche Pouch of soldiers or the Shot Pouch (Hunting Pouch) of Militia and Riflemen or may have been carried in a pocket or somewhere else on their person. I have yet to find documentation on where Light Infantry and Militia carried the powder measure, though my guess is in their waist coat pocket or maybe even suspended from their waist coat button.

Knapping Hammers, as we know them, were not issued to Soldiers or militia in the period. I'm not even sure they were that common or even used at all by period riflemen, at least in a military setting.

British/British American Soldiers were issued "Y" shaped Musket tools beginning in the FIW period and Riflemen sometimes to often carried a primitive "Turnscrew" or screwdriver in their Shot Pouch.


During the AWI, our first Commissary General, Timothy Pickering, designed the first Continental Congress/US issued Musket tool. I chose the following link because it also shows the Leather "Hammer Stall" or "Hammer Cap" that was put over the "Hammer" or what we usually call the Frizzen today. I don't know if Riflemen used Hammer Stalls or not, but they may have.

Gus
 
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JB67

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Gus,

I really like the chains on those originals. I can do something like that. I think that brush on the left is elegantly simple. (Those cramps are pretty neat, too!)

I've seen and read about guys wearing the brush and pick on a neck loop, but unless there's some historical example, I would rather not do so myself. Not for a militia portrayal, at any rate. So for now, pick and brush on a chain, on my pouch strap. Hammer and turnscrew will stay in the bag.

As for using measures, I know it's an uncertainty. Militia troops didn't always have cartridges, especially if they showed up with their own gun. Most likely a ball pouch and powder horn, but how they measured powder (if they even did) I find hard to determine.
 

tenngun

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Another thread on this forum shows an issue of one flint for sixteen ball.
Umph
Most of us get a few more shots. I’ve had flints shatter on three or four shots, and I’ve had sixty shot flints. But forty seems most reasonable.
That makes me think that boys didn’t sharpen flint.
There were ‘armorers’ gunsmiths attaches to units. Guns didn’t come with interchangeable parts then. Replacement had to be fit from blanks, or made.
We’re ‘gun nuts’ as like to tinker with our guns.
Although people lived closer to the world then we do today, they were not jack of all trades. One might turn out a pair of moccs, but had to buy shoes. A frontiersman/ woman might make home spun, but most people bought cloth.
A suspect the most militia men could not do jobs on their guns that we take for granted.
I’m not talking frontiersman here who may have to learn more skills, I’m talking the village inn keeper, the farmer outside of town, the average inhabitants of the colonies.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Militia troops didn't always have cartridges, especially if they showed up with their own gun.
Careful about assumptions. Records may not bear that idea out. It was different from colony to colony, and in fact in PA there was no militia.

Here are some records from Maryland archives for the duration of the AWI. Note the first reference, which although doesn't specify cartridges, it is the correct amount of lead and powder to make a full cartridge box of ammunition. Note how the first reference does not specify that the powder be brought in any type of container? Why specify the proper amount of powder and lead for a cartridge box, when one isn't using cartridges? There are not regulations for Militia to obtain horns or flasks to carry powder when issued to them loose, outside of cartridges.

2nd November 1775

When the Convention of December [1774] desired all Men to enroll themselves into [militia] Companies, to provide a good firelock, Cartridge Box, half a pound of powder & 2 lbs. of lead, …. [roughly 25 rounds using 140 grains of powder per load]


21 May, 1776

Ordered that the said Treasurer pay to William Lux for Use of Wm Hoofman five Pounds fourteen Shillings for 19 Reams of Cartridge Paper.



Saturday 29th June 1776

…, to furnish each private with a cartridge box containing 23 rounds, six flints, one blanket, one knapsack, with a haversack, and a canteen or wooden bottle to hold one quart, and to give such orders as they may think will best furnish the militia with provisions and baggage wagons on their march.



July 5th, 1776

Ordered that the Commissary of Stores deliver to Capt John Dean 31 Cartouch Boxes, 60 Gunslings, 14 iron pots, 10 Kettles, 1 bolt of Oznaburgs, and one Quire of Cartridge Paper.



In Council, Annapolis, 20th, May 1779

Sir, We have not Cartridge Boxes & Kettles or Pots. If we have an opportunity we shall send you Flints & Cartridge paper.


Wednesday 17th January, 1781


Ordered That the Armour deliver to Lieut. Skinner one pair Bullet Moulds and two quires of Musket Cartridge paper to be delivered over to Joseph Wilkinson Esquire, Lieutenant of Calvert County for the use of the Militia of said county.

So apparently the Militia (at least in Maryland) used a lot of cartridges, often.

LD
 

Grenadier1758

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You can just see my brush and the other chain with the pick hanging from the strap to my cartridge pouch. The u-shaped hook between the chains is passed through a piercing in the strap. I can also be seen on some of the Morier paintings.
Brush and pick.jpg
 

JB67

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Careful about assumptions. Records may not bear that idea out. It was different from colony to colony, and in fact in PA there was no militia.

Here are some records from Maryland archives for the duration of the AWI. Note the first reference, which although doesn't specify cartridges, it is the correct amount of lead and powder to make a full cartridge box of ammunition. Note how the first reference does not specify that the powder be brought in any type of container? Why specify the proper amount of powder and lead for a cartridge box, when one isn't using cartridges? There are not regulations for Militia to obtain horns or flasks to carry powder when issued to them loose, outside of cartridges.

2nd November 1775

When the Convention of December [1774] desired all Men to enroll themselves into [militia] Companies, to provide a good firelock, Cartridge Box, half a pound of powder & 2 lbs. of lead, …. [roughly 25 rounds using 140 grains of powder per load]


21 May, 1776

Ordered that the said Treasurer pay to William Lux for Use of Wm Hoofman five Pounds fourteen Shillings for 19 Reams of Cartridge Paper.



Saturday 29th June 1776

…, to furnish each private with a cartridge box containing 23 rounds, six flints, one blanket, one knapsack, with a haversack, and a canteen or wooden bottle to hold one quart, and to give such orders as they may think will best furnish the militia with provisions and baggage wagons on their march.



July 5th, 1776

Ordered that the Commissary of Stores deliver to Capt John Dean 31 Cartouch Boxes, 60 Gunslings, 14 iron pots, 10 Kettles, 1 bolt of Oznaburgs, and one Quire of Cartridge Paper.



In Council, Annapolis, 20th, May 1779

Sir, We have not Cartridge Boxes & Kettles or Pots. If we have an opportunity we shall send you Flints & Cartridge paper.


Wednesday 17th January, 1781


Ordered That the Armour deliver to Lieut. Skinner one pair Bullet Moulds and two quires of Musket Cartridge paper to be delivered over to Joseph Wilkinson Esquire, Lieutenant of Calvert County for the use of the Militia of said county.

So apparently the Militia (at least in Maryland) used a lot of cartridges, often.

LD
I have been focusing on New England, both American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. One big complaint, especially early on in both wars, is the lack of proper equipment among militiamen. Cartridge boxes were indeed standard equipment, but often lacking. Men were expected to show up with enough ball and powder for X number of cartridges, but not necessarily in the *form* of cartridges, especially if they did not have a cartridge box to begin with. Pouch and horn were acceptable, and were indeed the bare minimum required.

I don't know if it was a problem in other regions, but I suspect New England was not alone.

Perhaps Maryland was better organized, but your references don't say they were better equipped. The 1775 notes about the 1774 convention stated what was desired, and in June 1776 the privates were to be furnished with cartridge boxes, but in May 1779, they were still having difficulty supplying them.
 

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Gus,

I really like the chains on those originals. I can do something like that. I think that brush on the left is elegantly simple. (Those cramps are pretty neat, too!)
I was really happy to find that link because that Pan Brush, at least to me, is more authentic for Soldiers and Militia due to it being more simple than many modern day reproductions. I think some of the repro's today have gotten a little out of hand on how fancy they are for the common British or British American and especially Colonial Militia. Good for you to make your own by copying that one as it will be "more correct" for the period militia.

I've seen and read about guys wearing the brush and pick on a neck loop, but unless there's some historical example, I would rather not do so myself. Not for a militia portrayal, at any rate. So for now, pick and brush on a chain, on my pouch strap. Hammer and turnscrew will stay in the bag.
JB, I agree about not suspending the Pick and Pan Brush from the neck. If that had been anywhere near at least "somewhat common," it would have shown up in at least some original drawings/prints and they don't seem to do that.

I also think that those of us who compete in modern day ML matches have a tendency to "kit out" to make it easier to shoot 5 or more shots in matches and I suspect that is where the practice you have seen comes from.

As for using measures, I know it's an uncertainty. Militia troops didn't always have cartridges, especially if they showed up with their own gun. Most likely a ball pouch and powder horn, but how they measured powder (if they even did) I find hard to determine.
I've read an original quote where British Light Infantry in I think the FIW were using too much or too little powder when shooting "running ball" from the horn and Ball Bag on their waist belts. Going to take a while, but I'll see if I can find it. Not sure if that shows they weren't bothering to use their powder measures in the heat of combat or if it meant that particular unit did not have enough powder measures. I can see how either or both might have been the case and especially for the militia.

Gus
 

toot

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go too the site at DUELIST 1854, MIKE BELEVIEW. he has a site on accoutrements.
 

Loyalist Dave

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The 1775 notes about the 1774 convention stated what was desired, and in June 1776 the privates were to be furnished with cartridge boxes, but in May 1779, they were still having difficulty supplying them.
Why would there be a problem UNLESS they were using cartridges, is the point. ;)
If you have to show up with powder and lead for X number of ball, and you're not using cartridges, then there's no need to keep acquiring cartridge boxes, and no need to issue them out.

LD
 

oreclan

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I'm looking for period-correct methods of carrying one's shooting tools, namely the vent oick, pan btush, powder measure, and maybe knapping hammer. I see some shooters keep them on a neck chain, but is that correct fot Rev War and/or War of 1812?
Some things were just carried in their coat pockets.
 

JB67

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Why would there be a problem UNLESS they were using cartridges, is the point. ;)
If you have to show up with powder and lead for X number of ball, and you're not using cartridges, then there's no need to keep acquiring cartridge boxes, and no need to issue them out.

LD
Cartridges were still the faster and preferred method, so there was a need. Boxes were in short supply throughout much of the Revolution, especially early on.
 

JB67

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Hi JB,

The Pick and Pan Brush or Whisk and Prick or Whisk and Pick were issued to Soldiers throughout the 18th century and into the early 19th century, as long as flintlocks were used by the military. Each part of the Pick and Pan Brush was suspended from a loop by either bar link chains or twisted "S" link chains. Below is a photo of two early 19th century ones that follow 18th century styles along with two hand cramps (as they would say) or hand vices. It is hard to see in the top example, though the bottom one clearly shows the loop in the center that was meant to hang the chains from either a vest button or sewed to the strap of the Cartouche Pouch as they would say or more commonly known as the Cartridge Pouch in the 18th century and as the Cartridge Box in the 19th century.


This link shows the loop more clearly on the left side:

Most Soldiers used paper cartridges with Muskets, so they didn't need powder measures. However, some musket armed Light Infantry Soldiers and Militia who used powder horns and all Riflemen carried a powder measure. That measure might also have been suspended from the shoulder strap of the Cartouche Pouch of soldiers or the Shot Pouch (Hunting Pouch) of Militia and Riflemen or may have been carried in a pocket or somewhere else on their person. I have yet to find documentation on where Light Infantry and Militia carried the powder measure, though my guess is in their waist coat pocket or maybe even suspended from their waist coat button.

Knapping Hammers, as we know them, were not issued to Soldiers or militia in the period. I'm not even sure they were that common or even used at all by period riflemen, at least in a military setting.

British/British American Soldiers were issued "Y" shaped Musket tools beginning in the FIW period and Riflemen sometimes to often carried a primitive "Turnscrew" or screwdriver in their Shot Pouch.


During the AWI, our first Commissary General, Timothy Pickering, designed the first Continental Congress/US issued Musket tool. I chose the following link because it also shows the Leather "Hammer Stall" or "Hammer Cap" that was put over the "Hammer" or what we usually call the Frizzen today. I don't know if Riflemen used Hammer Stalls or not, but they may have.

Gus
Those pics you shared inspired me to make a chain out of mild steel fencing wire. Each bar link here is handmade. The small links were made by wrapping the wire around a dowel like a spring and cutting off loops. Everything was heated red hot and water quenched to harden before assembly. The pan brush was made from bristles I clipped off an old whitewashing brush. (The bar links are each about 2.5" long for reference.)

Made a couple powder measures, too, out of brass pipe. They are 60 & 100 grain.20200426_182423.jpg
 

Loyalist Dave

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Cartridges were still the faster and preferred method, so there was a need. Boxes were in short supply throughout much of the Revolution, especially early on.
Not in Maryland. One of the few colonies with a large inventory of stands-of-arms, as far back as the 1600's, and they bought more for the F&I, which were still on hand at the AWI.

LD
 

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Those pics you shared inspired me to make a chain out of mild steel fencing wire. Each bar link here is handmade. The small links were made by wrapping the wire around a dowel like a spring and cutting off loops. Everything was heated red hot and water quenched to harden before assembly. The pan brush was made from bristles I clipped off an old whitewashing brush. (The bar links are each about 2.5" long for reference.)

Made a couple powder measures, too, out of brass pipe. They are 60 & 100 grain.View attachment 29637
During the period, Iron wire was very common to make the loops and chains of Picks and Pan Brushes and it was not heat treated. What you made looks great, but I hope the quenching did not make the low carbon steel brittle?

Tinned Iron was much more common for powder measures for the Military and Militia because it was a lot cheaper than brass, but brass measures were known and you did a nice job of making them.

I have to admit I shudder when I see the brass, in either measures or as a way to hold the bristles of the brush, can easily be recognized as having come from a modern cartridge case. I don't have a problem using modern cartridge cases, BUT one should at least cut off the rear ends so it doesn't look like they made it from that source. I was pleased to see your measures don't have that problem.

Gus
 

JB67

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During the period, Iron wire was very common to make the loops and chains of Picks and Pan Brushes and it was not heat treated. What you made looks great, but I hope the quenching did not make the low carbon steel brittle?

Tinned Iron was much more common for powder measures for the Military and Militia because it was a lot cheaper than brass, but brass measures were known and you did a nice job of making them.

I have to admit I shudder when I see the brass, in either measures or as a way to hold the bristles of the brush, can easily be recognized as having come from a modern cartridge case. I don't have a problem using modern cartridge cases, BUT one should at least cut off the rear ends so it doesn't look like they made it from that source. I was pleased to see your measures don't have that problem.

Gus
Thanks. This wire is so soft it's like bailing wire. It stiffened up some, but is still bendable. Probably closer to paper-clip stiffness now.

I had made a brush before, but will leave this one in the bag. ;) Or use it for a blanket prize.20200426_182623.jpg
 

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